Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner walk past the Paley Center for Media as they leave the 21 Club after dining with President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner appear in Donald Trump's first meeting with a foreign leader

Trump's daughter — who's supposed to be running his blind trust — joined him in meeting with Japan PM Shinzo Abe


Matthew Rozsa
November 18, 2016 7:26PM (UTC)

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President-elect Donald Trump, sat in on her father's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was the first foreign leader to meet with the new president since his election. In the process, she has drawn attention to troubling questions about potential conflicts of interest that have existed since Trump began the transition process before taking power.

Jared Kushner, the president-elect's son-in-law, was also in attendance.

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Although Trump has denied reports of trying to obtain top secret security clearances for his children, Kushner has already emerged as one of his closest advisers and is reported to have consulted a lawyer about forgoing his pay and putting his business interests into a blind trust so he would not violate federal anti-nepotism laws. (Experts do not believe these steps would exempt him.) Ivanka has long been considered one of the greatest influences on her father's thinking, and she and her siblings Donald Jr. and Eric have been named to the executive committee of Trump's transition team.

This isn't the first time that the potential for conflicts of interest has arisen since Trump's election. Because real estate businesses like the Trump empire often depend on bank loans, Trump's involvement in those businesses while serving as president would pose a clear conflict of interest, both because of his support for banking deregulation and since many of his loans have been taken out from banks in foreign nations like China.

Although Trump has tried to avoid this potential problem by promising not to run those businesses during his presidency, he has given power over his empire to his eldest three children — meaning that, even if their presence in his administration doesn't violate anti-nepotism laws, their involvement on any level could still be illegal.

Those issues aside, the meeting between Trump and Abe at least appears to have gone well.

“I renewed my conviction that together with Mr Trump I will be able to establish a relationship of trust," Abe said in a statement after the meeting. "As an outcome of today’s discussions, I am convinced Mr Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence.”

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Conflict Of Interest Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Japan Jared Kushner Shinzo Abe

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